Before we begin I want to say thank you for stopping by. I am by nature a strange and eccentric individual, but before you go pointing the finger, you have to understand that I didn’t have much of a chance growing up with parents like mine. Both were creative intellects, that liked to battle it out who knew more on various debates. But we’ll get into that later.
A lot can happen to push someone to going after what they want with only the barest flicker of hesitation, and for me that all begun around December 2016. It was a year filled with a lot of potential based around animal-based careers, strange and wonderful friendships, and the competition of my degree in Animal Behaviour. I couldn’t decide what it was I wanted to do, so spent my time between jobs, horse riding, and trying to take life as un-seriously as possible. Little did I know that a rather interesting, if not life-changing short time spent in Sweden, would change the way I thought forever, when I came back just before the new year, knowing in my heart that I wanted to be a writer.
The decision to embark on such a strange avenue was hardly surprising for my family, who are more than use to me following my dreams, but having confidence issues with my writing, and spending so long trying to amass as much experience training horses (which took me all the way to Sweden based on what I told them in a message) led to some bad blood and tension in the air.
I will say that I love my family, which are perhaps some of the most varied, creative, and mad people I have ever met, but there are times when it takes all you have to not go mad. This led to a mix-up of understanding between what was obviously on their part just a flight of fancy, and on mine something that suddenly pieced together the whole reason of why I was here.
I remember sitting there in Sweden, above the stables, without any wifi or means to communicate with the outside world, reading a copy of Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson and thinking “You know what, i’d love to do this”. I’d sit there writing in between, getting screamed at for not being harder with the horses and using crops and whips, and then screamed at for not being myself more often. Slowly things started to make sense, the first being that I didn’t like my boss very much, and I wanted to be a writer.
I came back home to a overcast Northern-England completely terrified that i’d turned away from a job that would have given me the opportunity to travel the world, work alongside a top equestrian, for the chance to be able to write more. I was both completely confused at the sudden fierce determinism on my part, and being overwhelmed by what i’d later come to realise was pride.
2016 while largely regarded as the great bugger up of human history, was also a time of growth and self-discovery. By February I had managed to write the first draft of my novel on my iPhone of all places. I wouldn’t recommend it, I had to write chapters over and over due to glitches and all manner of not so funny haphazard occurrences.
By the 24th of May I had managed to get the book to a stage that I felt extremely proud of. It had taken a lot of strict daily word counts, including a week or two of writing 10,000 words a day (I don’t recommend that either). I wanted to write something that let me connect to the world around me, a thought that seemed as good as any other.
The aftermath of such an experience pushed me onwards to: joining the writing site Scribophile (A truly wonderful place to develop your craft), writing over 20 short stories, and becoming a freelance writer (Check People Per Hour and Upwork).
I wrote stories on: Kenopsia, Liturgical holidays, Other worlds, Christmas, Horror, Humour, And all manner in-between. I know that while I do appreciate unsettling someone with a flash of prose and a dash of mood, my work is as varied as I am, and as long as I can connect with someone then i’m on the right path.
I’ve worked on Sci-fi card games, i’m currently developing a boardgame, i’ve put my degree to use by writing ecology bits for people. The moment someone first asked me what my rates were, I panicked, but lucky for me I live with an extremely business savvy woman, who informs me every other day that “i’m good at this sort of thing”.
By November I felt drained and a little over-worked, but as I looked back at all I had achieved over such a short time, I couldn’t help but be proud of myself. I then realised how much i’d grown as a writer, so decided to go over my novel, which hopefully will be fairly tip top by January 2017.
I know now that writing is something that means more than trying to make stuff up convincingly enough that I convince someone to pay me occasionally, it’s the fact that despite my achievement in the face of a career guided talk informed me that i’d be lucky if I could get a job in a factory, as I was obviously never going to go to college.
I know i’ve barely begun, taking those sentenced fragmented, and grammatically incorrect first steps along a road that will allow me to become a better person, or at least let me realise that i’ve done more than I give myself credit for, and hopefully encourage someone else to at least try and follow their own dream.
It’s scary, and often quite hard to even try, but trust me when i say that you matter, and there’s a voice inside that can help save someone, even if it’s just yourself. the various pictures below are there to remind me of the many people and moments that have helped shape me into the slightly adult man I am today. I know 2016 has been a game changer with the loss of bright minds, and creative faces, but to me that just encourages us to step up and fill the space. Now’s our time to connect creatively, don’t waste your chance.
Happy New Year.
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